Subhas Chandra Bose was an Indian nationalist who died in 1945 after a plane crash as he was fleeing Taiwan, then still occupied by the Japanese in the days after they surrendered to the Allies.
While the circumstances around his death remain murky, one can probably suss out why he was in Taiwan: Bose had led the Indian National Army, a pro-independence paramilitary organization that had fought the British colonials and was allied with the Axis powers.
That meant he was allied with Nazi Germany.
Saikat Chakrabarti is the spokesman for New York Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He’s been in the soup before, very recently being the subject of a Federal Elections Commission complaint for allegedly diverting over $1 million in political donations to his own companies. This time, however, he’s in trouble simply for wearing a T-shirt.
Wonder of wonders, the T-shirt featured Bose.
The controversial sartorial choice has been in plain view since December of 2018, when Chakrabarti wore it during an interview with the reliably liberal NowThis News about Ocasio-Cortez’s freshman congressional orientation.
Here’s the clip of Chakrabarti lavishing some hagiographical love on his boss, all while wearing a shirt featuring a Nazi sympathizer on his chest:
The clip came under renewed scrutiny after a report that the president compared Ocasio-Cortez to former Argentine first lady Eva Perón.
The freshman congresswoman quickly embraced the comparison:
“I had watched for many years and seen how a few rich families held much of Argentina’s wealth and power in their hands. So the government brought in an eight hour working day, sickness pay and fair wages to give poor workers a fair go.”
– Evita Perón
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 7, 2019
If your familiarity with the Peron regime goes slightly beyond having seen “Evita” back in high school and looking up a few quotes of hers, you can grok why this is a problem.
Plenty of social media users spotted it:
Evita and her husband sheltered escaping Nazis in return for taking a cut of the jewelry and art they stole from Jewish families. https://t.co/rLdrUUZGOa
— Emily Zanotti (@emzanotti) July 7, 2019
This Eva Peron? Really? The Eva Peron who was the figurehead of a regime that let into Argentina *Dr Mengele* and thousands of other Nazis with the blood of millions on their hands? Really? https://t.co/I7kcqSsfdZ
— Joanne Bell (@jobellerina) July 7, 2019
AOC admires Eva Peron; a Nazi Lover, a woman with ties to War Criminals. To your low-informed followers: Argentina openly welcomed and hid Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele known as “Angel of Death” Anyone surprised?? Maybe NOW AOC should open up a history book?
— Christy (@Christy56074523) July 8, 2019
As the Washington Examiner’s John Gage noted, in the post-war years, Juan and Eva Perón made Argentina a safe space for Nazi barbarians like Adolf Eichmann and Josef “Angel of Death” Mengele, among other wastes of carbon.
While many are familiar only with the sunny side of Evita (proof that Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice can dumb down any subject), Ocasio-Cortez’s choice of tweets managed to alienate both foes and (unusually enough) allies.
“Denizens of Twitter are familiar with the cycle by now: President Trump does something — or is rumored to have said something — and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweets a clap-back, garnering a flood of left-wing support in the form of 🔥, 👏 and 💯 emoji, a flood of right-wing anger in the form of Breitbart and Daily Wire posts, and a boatload of historians shouting into the wind,” The Washington Post’s Gillian Brockwell wrote Monday.
However, Brockwell noted that after the Evita tweets, things were a bit different: “Yes, the right-wing bloggers typed out their rage posts. But instead of the usual celebratory retweets, Ocasio-Cortez encountered something she may not be accustomed to: criticism from the left.”
(Notice how it’s “criticism,” not “rage,” when it comes from the left. But I digress.)
Brockwell continued: “Aura Bogado, an immigration reporter for Reveal, tweeted the word ‘no’ 70 times in a row before explaining, ‘It’s hard to know where to begin with Evita’s horrid legacy but how about the part where she took gold stolen from Jewish families exterminated in actual concentration camps in exchange for allowing Nazi war criminals to live in Argentina? Don’t [expletive] sanitize her.’
“Others were more brief in their criticism. Activist Charlene Carruthers said, ‘Yikes.’ And cultural critic Sydette Harry, also known as Blackamazon, tweeted her shock with, ‘What in the entire [expletive]?!’”
(Again, apparently typing “no” 70 times or saying “Don’t [expletive] sanitize her” doesn’t qualify as rage, but reasoned tweeting about it from the right does. Still digressing.)
Brockwell’s conclusion seemed to be that there was enough evidence to conclude Evita may have had a pretty good idea that her husband was harboring Nazis and making money off of them in the process — and could have even set the groundwork for it during a 1947 tour of Europe, although the evidence is sketchy — but she was also very popular among her people and gave away a ton of money to the poor, so … shrug emoji:
“While Ocasio-Cortez may catch heat from the American left for giving Evita a platform, the Argentine first lady’s legacy is as strong as ever in her own country,” she wrote.
At the same time that article was being published, however, Chakrabarti was being called out among those wascally right-wing rage-prone types for his choice of shirt. (Note: The following tweets are linked to the originals, where the rough language is seen in full.)
In case you haven’t watched the History Channel recently, that’s Adolf Hitler in the last photograph and he’s shaking the hand of the gentleman on Chakrabarti’s shirt.
And then there was this:
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) July 8, 2019
This wasn’t exactly a random meeting, either: Bose’s Indian National Army was thoroughly allied with Nazi Germany and the other Axis powers and he “fancied himself as a world leader like Hitler and Mussolini.” The Washington Examiner noted Bose thought India’s government “should be a synthesis between National Socialism and Communism.”
In other words, a swell guy — one who also didn’t want to admit Jewish refugees into India before World War II:
So @AOC Chief of Staff @saikatc proudly donning a Subhas Chandra Bose t-shirt is either totally ignorant, totally antisemitic, totally anti immigration, or classic progressive cherry picking on antisemitism and human rights. I’d love an explanation. pic.twitter.com/IvfDmEVdBO
— Kenneth Friedman (@KSFriedman) July 8, 2019
I’m going to go with the first option. What Ocasio-Cortez saw in Evita and Chakrabarti saw in Bose were revolutionary figures, figures whose imperfections could be overlooked or could be cast as the inventions of febrile right-wing minds. (You know, those rage-prone types.) Thus, the fact that both figures had links to the Nazis didn’t really factor into the equation because they had alternative facts.
And, what do you know, there were scattered defenders of Bose and Chakrabarti who pointed out that Bose had abandoned Germany for Japan after realizing Hitler wasn’t going to help his cause:
Also, Subhas Chandra Bose was working with the Indian soldiers within the Nazi military before he realized Hitler was a snake then quickly left to align with Japanese counter-forces. He was looking for anyone to help overthrow British imperial forces: pic.twitter.com/clG69cmGfi
— – (@ThePrafulMathur) July 8, 2019
So, in other words, Bose was first willing to work with one evil, murderous regime, then another, all because he thought it would benefit his cause. Hero material, that.
Revolutionary figures will always seduce the left, no matter how evil they may be. If you don’t believe me, go count the Che Guevara T-shirts on your local college campus.
At the very least, both AOC and Chakrabarti have done us an enormous favor by providing a reminder of just how irredeemably wicked so many of these revolutionaries are.
Will they — or the media — remember this lesson? Of course not. But that just gives us so many opportunities to teach it to those who will.
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